Real-Time Ridesharing Opportunities and Challenges in Using Mobile Phone Technology to Improve Rideshare Services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - carpool, technology - geographic information systems, place - north america, planning - surveys


real time information, ridesharing, benefits, obstacles, GIS, technology


recent years, an innovative ridesharing service relying heavily on advanced mobile phone technologies known as real-time ridesharing or dynamic ridesharing, has gained popularity in some groups: providers, organizations, and employers. Traditionally, rideshare arrangements between two or more unrelated individuals for commuting purposes have been relatively inflexible, long-term arrangements. Real-time ridesharing attempts to add flexibility to rideshare arrangements by allowing drivers and passengers to arrange occasional shared rides ahead of time or on short notice. The addition of this service innovation presents opportunities to overcome existing rideshare challenges but also leads to new challenges. The overall goal of this study was to provide a foundation for further real-time ridesharing research. The aims of the study were to identify, highlight, and discuss the potential benefits of and obstacles to real-time ridesharing and to point to the next steps to understand better and possibly advance this mode of travel. A definition of real-time ridesharing was given, followed by a comprehensive categorization of challenges hindering greater rideshare participation. The information gathered suggested that rather than being a single challenge to be overcome, the rideshare challenge was a series of economic, behavioral, institutional, and technological obstacles to be addressed. Potential opportunities and obstacles created by real-time innovations were then highlighted. Several recommendations are provided toward next steps to understand further how rideshare participants use real-time services, focusing on the need for multiple, comprehensive trials of real-time rideshare.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.